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When Financial Security Threatens Our Trust in God

 

 By Special Guest Blogger Michael Blue

 

“We can trust Him too little, but we cannot trust God too much.” – C.T. Studd

I have been reading a biography about C.T. Studd recently and am blown away by his conviction and passion. Studd was a missionary to China, India, and Africa in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Before going on the mission field, he had gained a lot of fame as one of the best cricket players in the world. He was also very wealthy. Notwithstanding his wealth and fame, he left it all to spread the good news of Jesus Christ in faraway places.

Before leaving for China, he gave away everything he owned. He became poor to create an absolute dependence on God. After returning to England from China and India, Studd felt called to go to Africa. He was in poor health and was told that the journey and conditions in Africa would kill him. His church, friends, doctors, and family tried to convince him not to go. Still, he felt God calling him to Africa and so he went.

Can you feel the tension that must have existed for C.T. Studd? Though many tried to dissuade him along the way, he put God’s glory ahead of everything. He was daring and risky. Some probably even say he was foolish. But what we cannot say is that he did not trust God.

Working in a ministry that helps people learn to manage their money wisely, my greatest fear is that I will point people toward placing their hope and trust in money instead of God. This becomes especially challenging when helping people think through the question of how they should provide for their family. The problem is that we tend to think that providing well for our families means giving them more things and more safety nets. What if provision for our families means something entirely different? What if it means providing them with a trust in God as their provider? What if it means putting them in situations where they are utterly dependent on God? What if it means putting them in danger?

Is this foolishness? Is it foolish to trust God too much? Are we being reckless if we take our families to Syria to reach the lost? How do we balance our desire to protect with our desire to trust God? I believe more and more each day that blindly accepting my comfortable, safe, suburban mindset is utter foolishness. Why would I want my kids growing up without the need to trust God?

Selling all I have or moving to a dangerous country are not the only ways I can learn trust God. I can learn to trust God by faithfully witnessing to my neighbors and helping those in need. I can learn to trust God by boldly living a life of radical generosity. I can learn to trust God by walking into the darkness of the world to shine His light. What I cannot do is be content with my comfortable lifestyle and never venture beyond my doors to demonstrate God’s love for others.

I don’t know what God is calling you to do, but I do know He wants you to learn to trust Him. That may require you doing dangerous and difficult things. It may require you selling all you have and giving to the poor. It may require you knocking on your neighbor’s door to share the truth about Jesus with them. I don’t know what it will take for you to learn to trust God, but I know that I don’t want to get to the end of my life and say that I trusted God too little. If my money or money management is a barrier to that trust, then I need to change what I am doing. Whatever it takes to learn to trust in God is exactly the best thing for me to do financially.

C.T. Studd’s life was not easy. He only saw his wife for one day over the final 13 years of her life. He gave much, knowing that everything in his life was loss when compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus. He lived hard for God and God honored him by always providing enough for him to live on and more than enough of Himself. He did not trust God too little.

Friday Inspiration

The high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, the Holy One, says this: I live in that high and holy place where those with contrite, humble spirits dwell; and I refresh the humble and give new courage to those with repentant hearts.

Isaiah 57:15

Friday Inspiration

Money provides a training ground for spiritual growth that will last into eternity.

Ron Blue and Karen Guess, Never Enough-3 Keys To Financial Contentment

granny

Granny and the Grain of Sand

When I was four my Granny came out to stay with us in California for a few months. She was born in the rural part of Kentucky and had a strong southern accent. Every night we would snuggle in the guest room and she would teach me the 23rd Psalm and tell me stories.

One night she told me about a bird and a grain of sand, and how this bird would fly up to the moon and drop off the grain of sand and then fly back to earth to pick up another grain of sand. Back and forth it would go.

Granny was trying to help me understand eternity. The thought of a bird taking one of these round-trip journeys sounds impossible—but when you try to imagine the bird transferring every single grain of sand on the earth, it’s unimaginable.

That’s the nature of eternity—unimaginable to our finite brains.

My Granny came to Christ late in life, possibly in her 60’s. But she was very wise, and she knew the importance of making sure I knew about eternity. This is my earliest memory ̶ one that I will never forget.

What does it mean to live with eternity in mind? How does this look in your life?

service

Healing through Serving

My Mom died and went to spend eternity with Jesus in September of 2014. It was a very hard time for me but God was with me. I don’t say that flippantly—I saw Him working in my life before, during and after to help me get through this season. His presence was tangible.

Leading up to this time, God had me working with Generous Giving to bring more Journey of Generosity’s (JOGs) to the Bay Area. A JOG is a 24 hour retreat where Christians gather to discuss, in a safe environment, generosity. I attended my first JOG in August of 2014 and then two weeks later, JOG facilitator training to be in a position to share this magnificent experience with others.

Five days before my Mom died, I met a new friend while serving at City Impact’s Adopt a Building program. Jojo was going through a painful divorce and needed someone to talk to. I felt honored to be able to minister to him.

Around the same time, my friend Nelson asked me to help him in a program to teach teenagers in the Bayview area about finances.

I could have opted out of all of these quite easily, but I felt led by God to serve. I began to sense a correlation between serving and healing. Could it be God’s plan that we help others while going through a painful season in our lives?

When we look at the last hours of Jesus life what do we see?

  1. Him feeding and then washing the feet of his closest friends. Matthew 26:26-29
  2. Asking God to forgive those who were crucifying Him. Luke 23:34
  3. Sharing salvation with the criminals on the cross so they could have eternal life with Him. Luke 23:43
  4. Making sure His Mom was taken care of by his closest friend John. John 19:26-27

I have no theological backing for this next statement but I believe it was God’s purpose for Jesus to continue ministering to others right up to the end in order to endure his darkest time on earth. In essence, to take the focus off of Himself and place it onto others.

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).

We know we are to be like Jesus. We may often think of this from a point of view of holiness, but we can follow his example when it comes to healing too.

I believe Jesus shows us how to deal with the great pain that comes into our life so we may finish the race God created us for, like Jesus did, like Paul did, like I pray you and I do.

What stories of serving through pain do you have?